The Current Federal Electoral System Emerges
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The current electoral system used for federal or national elections to the German federal parliament, situated in the Reichstag building in Berlin, is fundamentally the one used in West Germany from 1949 until 1990, the year when the two Germanys - East and West - were reunited. The ordinary German voter does not know which names are on the party lists, beyond the first five names, which appear on the ballot paper. When the actual number of members of parliament increased to 672 in 1994 - as a result of the additional mandates - the German federal parliament certainly was one of the largest in the democratic world. The Free Democrats had, managed to carve out a pivotal position for themselves in what had become a three-party system at federal level, adopting the role of third force in the German party system.